Congestion Charging Plans Attacked

April 17, 2007 4:46 PM
As our MP, Mark Hunter will work to get the vital A555 link built.

Mark calls for the A555 relief road to be built before congestion charges start

Local MP Mark Hunter has today (17th April) joined Stockport, Rochdale and Trafford Councils in condemning the Labour-run Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority (GMPTA) for their plans to introduce congestion charging across the conurbation.

Speaking after the decision was announced, Mr Hunter said; "The Labour-run GMPTA have continually refused to give local authorities and MPs the relevant information about these plans, what public transport improvements will be installed and whether these improvements will come first, what roads will be charged and how the charges might affect jobs and the economy. They are expecting both MPs and Councillors to accept the plans sight unseen, while we all have severe reservations as to how the plans would work in our local areas.

"What we know for sure is that the plans for congestion charging do not include the extension of the Metrolink to the Stockport area, nor do they include the completion of the A555 relief road. It seems ridiculous that the GMPTA would consider introducing congestion charging before real alternatives are available for local residents.

"I also have very real reservations about how congestion charges will work locally. If drivers using the A6 are charged as proposed, traffic will just be diverted in residential streets which are already struggling to cope. This will be very detrimental to the quality of life for local residents; suburban streets will become nosier and less safe for the elderly and for children. The GMPTA have failed to answer questions as to how they would deal with this problem.

"If Manchester City Council wants to go ahead with its own zoned charging scheme, that's a matter for them. But I don't see why the rest of us should have some half-baked scheme foisted upon us.

"The GMPTA has failed to answer any of the four 'executive tests' set out by the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA). The GMPTA has refused to confirm whether significant transport investment will be made prior to the charging scheme, whether the scheme will affect the competitiveness of the towns and regional centres, and will not confirm whether the charging scheme will only apply to roads currently suffering from congestion. As it stands the scheme certainly does not have the support of the public.

"The bottom line is that until there are viable public transport alternatives, the A555 is completed, and the other problems with the scheme are resolved, residents should not be charged for using their cars."

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